Playground is Jason Quinn's freewheeling restaurant in DTSA.
Jason Quinn, co-founder of The Lime Truck, now runs Playground, a righteous restaurant in downtown Santa Ana that hosts a family-style Sunday Supper that spans 12-15 plates and costs a bargain $40 including tax and tip.
“If you want your meat well done feel free to bring your own!” Indeed.
Quinn started his plate parade with a pig head empanada co-starring sauce “reminiscent of a certain glorious food chain,” In-N-Out.
Roasted mushrooms provided a brief respite from the protein cavalcade.
Frisée salad incorporated fibrous watermelon radishes and citrus segments.
Chilaquiles hosted crumbled cotija, scallions, black beans, sweet and spicy chile sauce, and creamy guacamole.
Gailan took a savory bath with chewy rice cakes.
Roasted cauliflower and carrots accompanied scallions and tangy tzatziki.
“Alright, newbies!” Quinn presented his maple glazed pork chop, a meat mountain that stood six inches tall.
Rich porchetta ragù and crunchy scallions washed over soupy polenta.
Misoyaki pork ribs sported a sticky miso, honey and soy glaze.
Quinn plated pappardelle with tri-tip ragù with pepperonata and tomato sauce.
Carbonara blanketed peas, pepper, and to the best of my memory, gnocchi.
Uncle Lou’s fried chicken was lightly dredged and tossed in tangy, spicy red wine vinegar, cayenne pepper and hot sauce.
Wagyu flatiron steak co-starred crispy skin-on potatoes and chimichurri.
Playground supplements 15 craft beer taps with rare bottles.
Pastry chef Ashley Guzman presented dessert in waves.
A memorable cinnamon sugar donut hosted vanilla ice cream.
Lime curd co-hosted Graham cracker crumbs, blueberries, and whipped cream in a Mason jar.
Sticky toffee pudding arrived in syrup with powdered sugar and whipped cream.
Three-cheese cheesecake was Guzman’s tour de force, made with mascarpone, goat cheese and Philadelphia cream cheese and plated with whipped cream, honeycomb, pine nuts, light shower of confectioner’s sugar.
One tablemate requested another cheesecake and our server said, “Would that make you feel better or worse?” Better!
I would have gladly double-ordered many dishes, but that would have run counter to Quinn’s celebration of culinary discovery. Sunday Supper was a great introduction to a full-throttle restaurant that demands that I revisit.